Proverbs 2:20-22

Walking with Good Men

 

Introduction:

1. The immediate context of this passage begins in 2:01.

a. He gives an “if/when…then” condition. (when “A” occurs, “B” will follow)

b. “A” = when wisdom enters the heart; knowledge is pleasant to the soul;

c. “B”—THEN, discretion will preserve you. This wisdom results in discernment… and discernment protects and preserves.

2. Discretion preserves from two things:

a. Vs.12-15 – from the evil man.

b. Vs.16-19 – from the strange woman—the harlot—the fornicator

3. Now, Solomon states what discretion will preserve us UNTO…

a. It will preserve us UNTO good company… good men… good fellowship…

b. That is the way of safety.

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men

1. Solomon has been teaching his son about separation.

a. Separation FROM evil men and women.

b. Now he begins to teach the positive side of separation: separated UNTO good men!

c. This is a principle found throughout the Bible. (I Thess. 1:9-10)

d. What we are separated UNTO is by far the ESSENCE of the divine purpose in it all!

2. Of course Solomon wants his son to stay away from evil people.

a. BUT—he does not want his son to be a monk living in solitude in a monastery.
• Hopefully as parents, we don’t want that for our children either!

b. Solomon wants his son to find fellowship and friendship with good men!
• Any parent should desire this for his child… and seek it… and pray for it… and guide that child TOWARD good friends…and steer them away from evil companions!

c. That is my goal as a pastor too.
• Today there are 1001 types of fellowships and Christian organizations.
• We want to seek fellowship with GOOD men… godly men… sound men.
• Just as you want to steer your children in the path of safety… and steer them away from some kids that might be troublemakers… in the local church, we too want to seek the best godly fellowship we can.

3. Note the context here: he is talking about SAFETY that is produced by wisdom and discretion.

a. It is so easy for young people to get mixed up with the wrong crowd and get dragged down! There is no safety in the wrong crowd.

b. Wisdom mandates to us that we seek GOOD men as our friends and godly men to fellowship with.

c. This is God’s means of protecting us!

4. If we DON’T use wisdom and discretion and follow after evil men and the wayward woman… then we have forsaken God’s means of safety and protection!

a. Prov. 1:31-33 – forsaking wisdom comes with a heavy price tag.
• Filled with your own devices… (vs.31)
• Destruction (vs.32)

b. But those who listen to lady Wisdom will dwell SAFELY… and will be quiet from fear of evil! (vs.33)

And keep the paths of the righteous.

1. Wisdom and discretion will enable you to keep on the right path! (Path of righteousness).

2. The world is trying daily to knock us OUT OF the right way… and cause us to swerve into the wrong way… the wrong road…

3. The devil uses 1001 gimmicks to accomplish his goal. (TV, radio, books, billboards, magazines, sports, money, pleasure)

a. Whatever will be effective in causing us to take our eyes OFF the Lord… and causing us to become entangled in the affairs of this life…

b. He can even use GOOD things to cause us to swerve off the right path.
• If that good thing becomes more important than spiritual things in our life…
• If we begin choosing that good thing OVER God and church and our devotions…
• Good things can shove God out of his throne in our heart.

4. Solomon is teaching his son that he needs discernment and discretion to be able to NOTICE when this is happening…

a. Things of the world can creep up gradually in our lives so that they slowly choke out the things of the Lord.

b. It takes discernment to SEE what is happening.

c. Often times, OTHERS can see it happening in our life before we do. And sometimes when we are told, we shrug it off in disbelief!

d. Solomon teaches his son about the kind of discretion that has “eyes to see” the danger of a wrong way… and the good of the right way.

e. In a sense, this kind of godly wisdom is developing a healthy hatred for iniquity and a love for righteousness. (Heb. 1:9) This is a sign of growing in Christlikeness… spiritual strength and discernment.

5. Note the concept of two different “roads” or “ways” and their ends.

a. Solomon just mentioned the WAY (road) of the evil man (vs.12)

b. Now he mentions the WAY of good men and the PATH of the righteous.

c. The Bible often mentions these two roads or paths.

d. Psalm 1:6 – the way of the righteous and the ungodly.

e. Jer. 6:16 – The prophet encourages the people to seek the OLD path… the path of faith and holiness that the patriarchs walked… not the NEW road that is leading them astray!
• Note that walking in the old path = rest for your soul! Peace!
• It is the place of safety—which is why they can have rest… they are protected and safe. Rest is the natural by-product of safety and security!

f. Jesus spoke of two roads too! (Matt. 7:13-14)
• The worldly road leads to destruction.
• The narrow road of the disciple ends in life everlasting.
• Note that Jesus also spoke of the way of the disciple in Matt.11:28-29. There he stated that the disciple’s WAY is a road he travels while YOKED to Christ. That road… that narrow road… that old path… the life of a disciple… one sold out to Christ results in REST for your soul!

For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

1. In the final two verses, Solomon gives his son some more motivation for choosing the path of the righteous.

2. Solomon states two positive reasons for wanting to follow the path of the righteous or the upright.

a. The upright dwell in the land.

b. The upright remain in the land.

3. The upright dwell in the land.

a. This needs to be understood in light of the Old Testament.

b. Jews did not think of the afterlife as we do. They thought primarily of life on the earth. They looked ahead to a glorious kingdom—on earth. That is where their future hopes were tied.

c. So they placed great emphasis on life… and a long life.

d. The first promise associated with the Law was “thou shalt live long upon the land.” (Ex. 20:12)

e. This seems to be the emphasis that Solomon makes to his son. “Avoid the way of the ungodly, walk with good men, and you will DWELL or live in the land”… meaning—you won’t be cut off or die.

f. You will DWELL in the land and REMAIN in it!

g. Whether he meant the land of Israel or the earth in general, his point is similar.
• Some Jews were taken OUT OF the land because of their sin and idolatry! (Assyrian and Babylonian captivities!)
• Thus, remaining in the land meant much to a Jew.
• With their land were connected all the covenants and promises of God for the future.

h.) To make application to us, we might say, “Walk in the way of the righteous… and you will remain in the place of God’s blessing!”
• Our heavenly blessings and spiritual blessings are permanent and eternal.
• However, the ENJOYMENT of those blessings is linked to our behavior now!
• I Tim. 4:8 – godliness is profitable in this life AND in the life to come!
• If we walk in the counsel of the ungodly… or if we chose to depart from the way of the upright, there could be serious consequences!
• But walking in the path of the godly means life… blessing… and rest!

But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it. (Vs.22)

1. In contrast to the blessing upon those Jews who walk in the good path… the old path… we see the evil result of NOT doing so.

2. Note that he uses two agrarian verbs: cut off… and rooted out… (like plants)

3. These agrarian illustrations mean that the ungodly will DIE physically!
• This is a common theme in the Old Testament.
• Example: Ps. 37:9 – evildoers shall be cut off—die!
• But the meek shall inherit the land! (Psalm 37:9,11,22, 29,34)
• Prov. 10:30 – contrast the “R” and the ungodly in the land.

4. There are TWO means of fulfillment of this.

a. NOW: as a rule, those who follow the path of safety will live longer! And those who live in the fast lane with loose living die sooner!

b. LATER: Eventually, all of the ungodly will be rooted out of the earth and cast into hell.

5. Remember, these are Proverbs—generalizations about life. There are exceptions.

6. But these are good principles to teach our kids!

a. Life in the fast lane might seem quite appealing to a teen-ager… but they need to be told about the dangers too!

b. They need to be told about the blessings of following the straight and narrow way… of asking for the old paths… the way of the righteous.

c. This is the way the Good Shepherd wants to lead us all! (Ps. 23:1-3)

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